Artificial Insemination

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Artificial Insemination Artificial insemination, test-tube fertilization, frozen storage of embryos and surrogate parenting. For many people, these new and often controversial procedures of artificial reproduction hold out a last hope for starting a family. What happens during the insemination process is your physician uses a syringe to inject sperm into the cervical canal right before or right on the day of ovulation. Since half of the sperm get lost in the cervix, the physician sometimes injects them directly into the uterus through a procedure known as intrauterine insemination or IUI. Another method is the mixing of a sperm and ovum in a nutrient medium outside a woman's body, followed by implanting the fertilized egg into her uterus. In a third method the ovum is fertilized within one woman's uterus and then transferred to the body of another woman. Eggs can now also be removed from a woman's ovaries and placed in her fallopian tubes along with spermatozoa, thus allowing for normal fertilization. Many times anonomus donors are used. Donors can be matched by factors such as race, color of eyes, hair and other physical characteristics, and are screened for conditions such as AIDS, gonorrhea and other STDS. Even though freezing sperm doesn't seem to affect a pregnancy, it reduces the sperm's movement and influences the success rate of artificial insemination. About 75 to 85 percent of women inseminated with fresh donor semen will get pregnant--especially if the procedure is repeated over several months. Unfortunately, freezing the sperm decreases the chances of success by 10 to 15 percent. Today's reproductive technology is not limited to helping create human families. Reproductive specialists at the nation's zoos and research centers have begun to investigate ways to save endangered animals with these techniques. For some endangered species, the new procedures for reproduction--often designed to solve human fertility problems--offer a last hope for survival. Artificial reproduction can dramatically increase the breeding potential of healthy individuals of an endangered species,. Sperm from a genetically fit male, for instance, might be removed, preserved and shipped around the world to impregnate many females of a particular species. And transporting an animal's cells is often much easier than shipping an entire animal. The new procedures can also help physically or behaviorally handicapped animals reproduce. For example, a female animal that is unable to mate naturally could be artificially inseminated. A male might have its sperm collected for use sometime later in an artificial reproduction attempt. The most familiar procedure is artificial insemination--introducing semen into the uterus of a receptive female to fertilize her ova or eggs. But this procedure is not as straightforward as it sounds. Before artificially inseminating any animal, researchers must have detailed knowledge about its reproductive cycle, including such important facts as when females of a species ovulate, that is, produce viable eggs. For animals used in agriculture, such as cattle and sheep, an economicincentive has existed to develop this knowledge. Unfortunately, for exotic animals, this information is often lacking. The ability to freeze sperm and other reproductive cells is vital for endangered species. If scientists are to save this species from extinction, biologists must be able to preserve semen for long periods of time. When only a few individuals of a species remain, the "gene pool," or number of different genes existing for that species, is greatly diminished. After several generations have passed, semen can be thawed and used to impregnate females that are genetically distant from the donor male. Artificial Insemination is good for all animals . It can keep keep generations of species, human or otherwise, alive and well. Though there is no real shortage of humans, we aren t going to be extinct for a while, the animal population of certain species are dwindling rapidly, so artificial insemination is just another way to keep our planet thriving.

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